Subway Thoughts: Blizzard-induced J-to-G-to-L-to-6; Brooklyn-bound L

J-G-L-6 (getting to Manhattan from Brooklyn post-blizzard) : Waking up this morning was difficult. Not only is it December 27, two days after Christmas, but I knew I wasn’t going to like traveling to work after the sky decided to open up and dump feet of snow on the NYC Metro area. I peeked out my window to find every car in the lot behind my building buried under puffy white snow.

Eek.

When I opened my door to trudge the usual 7 minutes to the JMZ stop at Myrtle-Broadway, I found thigh-high mounds waiting for me on the sidewalk and street. After somehow managing to get onto the train platform, a J slowly cruised into the station. The normally-express J was running local, which wasn’t a problem, until we arrived at Hewes St., just two stops from Manhattan. With the subway doors not closing, everyone began to get antsy. Finally, the conductor announced that the train directly in front of us was stuck on the Williamsburg bridge. Ten minutes passed without update. Ten more minutes ticked by. Worse news came with the next announcement – the bridge was impassable and all passengers were asked to find alternative transit. I clambered down to the street with my fellow passengers, and most of us trudged a few blocks to the Broadway G stop. Twenty minutes of waiting for the G… to only go one stop. Twelve minutes of waiting for a Manhattan-bound L. Five minutes of waiting for an uptown 6. When I emerged, Manhattan didn’t look much better than Brooklyn. Two hours and four trains later, I arrived at work.
I thought.. if I could just get into Manhattan, I could grab a taxi.. Oh wait.

L (the woman who collapsed on the platform) : I was making my way home late on Friday, December 17, coming from the UES going home to Brooklyn. The 4 on which I was traveling downtown arrived at Union Square around 1 AM (technically December 18), where I needed to transfer to a Brooklyn-bound L. I hurried to the track, noticing from the stairs that a train was still idling at the station. I picked up my pace as to not miss the train (few come at that hour), but much to my chagrin, every single car was packed with people. I walked along the platform to one end, searching for a space I could slide into, but no dice. I turned around and decided to walk until I met the other end of the train. As I passed the stairs I had come down I came upon a large group of people crowded around something. With headphones in, I couldn’t hear what anyone was saying, but I noticed a woman’s legs stretched out on the ground, facing downward. The crowd parted, and I saw that the woman was shaking, maybe seizing and probably unconscious, her head cradled on the lap of a young woman who looked to be in her mid-twenties. There were MTA support members there, but the young woman seemed to be taking control of the situation medically. I instantly thought of my friend Beth, who is my age and a nurse. I thought that Beth would have done the same thing, jumping into action in the real world if necessary. Calm and compassionate, yet strong and in control.

I witnessed a few things that evening that made me hopeful for the human race and alternately made my stomach turn. The young woman, who I would bet any money is in fact a nurse, was beyond brilliant. The MTA support listened to her instructions as she held the woman in place, supporting her neck and head. She calmly and kindly asked the man holding the woman’s purse and coat (who I can only assume was the fallen woman’s husband), if she had taken anything, if she had eaten anything that she could be allergic to. Many bystanders were concerned, wondering aloud if they could do anything, put a call into the paramedics, anything. Some were not so concerned, pulling out their smart phones to take video, for instance. A group of young men even hit on a young woman a few feet away from me. She was appalled, looking around after it happened to see if anyone noticed. I did, and I gave her the palms up and rolled my eyes. “I hate idiots like that,” she said.

Eventually the overcrowded train pulled away and another L arrived. As I stepped onto the train, I felt torn about leaving the face-down woman, though I was never directly involved nor do I have any medical knowledge or expertise. It just felt strange to walk away from something like that, turning my back on an emergency. The scene took quite a while to leave my mind and leave me in peace. I still think about that woman, though, and I hope she is okay.

HBO, I always like what you’re doing.

Sick.

Last night, HBO Sports’ 24/7 Penguins Capitals premiered, providing an unbridled look at two teams headed for a Winter Classic battle at Heinz Field on January 1, 2011. The ingredients : HBO, hockey, specifically Pittsburgh hockey (oh and the Washington Capitals), a heated rivalry – I feel like I don’t need any other lead-in info aside from that. This is a dream come true for me, not just because this show puts my favorite professional sports team in the spotlight, but because HBO brings everything they do to a different level. The cinematography is gorgeous – the city scenes from Pittsburgh were breathtaking, and the ones highlighting our nation’s capital weren’t too shabby either.
Money.

Hockey is a unique beast. It is a sport that requires its participants to go to battle several times a week at the same intensity the National Football League reserves for just one game every seven days. Hockey players are rarely divas – just watch a few in-game interviews. They speak in technical terms, they care about the game above all, and they care about winning – as a team. The NHL as a league gets only a fraction of the media attention its professional sport counterparts in the NFL, NBA, and MLB receive. And that’s why I think this series is a perfect opportunity for viewers to get a peek at the inner workings of this mystical sport. Who better to serve up the story than the premium cable powerhouses at HBO?

HBO, I always like what you’re doing.

Subway Thoughts : Uptown F, Brooklyn-bound L

After writing about my experience on the J train a few days ago, I started to think about how many interesting moments take place on the subway. Specifically, I was thinking about the things I’ve seen and how new moments of note occur in front of me on a daily basis. I take two to three different trains every day, and each line is populated with very different varieties of travelers. Today, I begin “Subway Thoughts”, in which I’ll provide accounts of what I see, and maybe even what I hear (although most of the time I’m rocking out internally, scoping out the scene to the soundtrack of my choosing).

ella ella a

L (the guy who kept trying to talk to the girl with the headphones in) : A man squeezed himself next to a young woman on one of the two-seaters you find at the end of a car. She had headphones in, bobbing her head to the music while she picked fries out of the McDonald’s bag on her lap. While the man began to read at first, a few minutes into our Brooklyn-bound journey he attempted to engage his seat-mate in conversation. She slowly removed one ear bud to listen to whatever he wanted to say, curtly answered and attempted to replace her headphone. The man would not stop talking, much to her chagrin. This chick’s blatant annoyance was key. She’d barely turn her head to emit her brusque replies, and I noticed her looking around to see if anyone was aware of what was happening to her. She didn’t notice me, but I noticed her and the man lacking self-awareness next to her.
What the F.

F (the guy who wouldn’t stop shadowboxing) : I sat in the middle of a long bench in the middle of a long F train. Across from me, one t-shirt-clad, long-haired guy and all of his belongings took up enough space for three people. The young man was jiggling a foot and staring at himself in the reflection of the subway window. I didn’t think anything of it until he began to shadowbox. Jab, jab…punch. A short sequence, and his hands returned to his sides. Two minutes passed, then more jabbing and more punching. A few head ducks worked their way in. The train slowly took on more commuters, bodies filling in the spaces left open for seating. A few women sat near him, unawares… until his fists were raised. The looks of confusion on their faces were followed by furtive glances around the car for communal acknowledgment. Some giggled, some frowned. I smiled a small smile. None of which deterred the shadowboxer, who continued to work on his form every few minutes, critical of his reflection in the window until he exited the train.

Mysteries of Pittsburgh.

Old School flavor.

There are several Steelers bars in NYC, but sometimes Black&Gold pride pops up in places unaccounted for on the internet. I was walking along 2nd Ave. in the Upper East Side about a month ago when I caught the above blow-up football player.

I truly, deeply enjoy running into Yinzers or finding Pittsburgh anything around New York City. Sometimes, I can’t help but shout ‘GO STILLERS’ when I see a jersey or prominently-displayed logo. Though it’s not unbelievable that there is Pittsburgh pride living and breathing (and drinking beer) in NYC, I think I might need to start taking more (stalker-like) photos of these displaced Pittsburgh fans and amassing my collection here for you all to enjoy.

NYC Pens Fans Meet-Up group at Foley's.

Oddly enough, I’m thinking about watching the movie ‘Mysteries of Pittsburgh’ tonight, which I’ve heard has little or nothing to do with Pittsburgh. The mysteries continue.